This morning didn't come quite as early, as we celebrated a little bit late the nite before. We checked the measurements on our animals in the cooler and helped (got in the way) of tracking a wildebeest that had been wounded by one of the bowhunters.
Clinton had been telling us about the Zulu lifestyle and their eating habits since his tracker Simon is one. Simon also is the one who cleaned and skinned all the animals. When we went down to the cooler, Clinton said something to him. He said, "Watch this." Simon reached down and cut off part of a wildebeest stomach that had been lying on the slab all nite and popped it into his mouth! Urrk. Good thing I already ate breakfast. Clinton said they will eat everything but the hooves, hide and horns. We felt he would have been a good contestant for Fear Factor.
One of the bowhunters had misfired and wounded a wildebeest in the neck the evening before and needed help to track it down, so Clinton, John and a couple of trackers went to the area. They immediately found blood and tracks and started following. "There's blood." Where? They were seeing spots the size of nail heads that had already dried. They found where it had laid up with several others for the nite and picked out it's tracks this morning. It was durn impressive watching these guys work. They followed it for a while and finally determined that it wasn't hit mortally and would probably turn up at the waterhole again.
John Henry wanted to take us back to the Strauss Ranch again, so we loaded up and drove. We got there around noon and cruised around looking for tracks on the sandy roads. We split up to try and stalk the gemsbok and/or a kudu because it was windier today and we felt like we had a little better chance of being stealthy.
Clinton and I had been walking for about 10 minutes when we rounded some trees and got busted by two big gemsbok cows. The cows have longer horns than the bulls, but the bull's are heavier and thicker at the bases. Those things can really run. We circled around and tried to get downwind again and see if we could get a shot, but they eluded us. We had just decided to work our way back to the road and meet up with our cohorts, when Clinton froze. He spotted a gemsbok under a thick mott of trees by it's tail a-switching! We hunkered down and started glassing it and determined that it was an old mature bull. It was drifting upwind which was good for us, so we walked, crawled, slithered, whatever to try and stay up with him and remain undetected. Guys (and gals), you need to try crawling along thru thorns in full winter gear, binoculars dangling, keeping you rifle outta the sand and trying not to pant like a road lizard! LOL We got within 75 yards of the bull, when he turned around a laid down. They will do this to watch downwind to see if anything is sneaking up on them. Unfortunately for him, he didn't see us. We rose up on our knees to try and get a shot. I had my rifle lying on Clinton's shoulder using it as a rest. At this point, my heart was racing and I just wasn't comfortable. There were a few bushes in the line of fire also, so we eased back down. Right when Clinton stretched out to rest, the bull got up. I had a great field of view now and Clinton said to take the shot. I had a couple of days to think about my missed shot on the other gemsbok and I was determined to place my shot. BOOM! The bull went down and thrashed around, but he wasn't out. We waited a couple of minutes and I finished him off with another shot. Whew, what a bull! He was determined to be 12-14 years old and he didn't have many teeth. He didn't have long, long horns, but the mass and the hunt made up for it. Clinton said that "We outsmarted one tough, clever bull today." Bryan had brought some walky-talkies and we made use of them today. We called them and they located us. After a few choice comments and pictures we hiked back to the jeep. As we were walking back I found a porcupine quill. It was about 14 inches long, and sharp. Cool.
We ate some sammiches rested for a little while, then drove around the ranch trying to spot anything. Nada, so about 5, we dropped Bryan and John off so they could go stalking. Clinton and I went back to the ranch house to get a tractor to load up my gemsbok. Mr Strauss was kind enough to drive out there himself and help out. Clinton told me later that Mr Strauss had been bitten by a spider similar to a brown recluse. They bite and then lay eggs in the wound. Skin and tissue deteriorate and makes a nasty wound. Takes about 6 months to heal up.
We loaded up my trophy and were waiting on our associates when Clinton spotted some impala. We eased up in the jeep and saw a nice ram. Clinton said to take him, so I did. One shot this time. He measured out right around 22 inches.
Bryan and John showed up a little bit later and we decided to make a quick swing back through the pasture before it got too dark to see. We saw a gemsbok down a side road, so we passed it and Bryan and John unloaded as we were moving. After about 10 minutes we hear a "Woof." They walked back a few minutes later and had been busted by a kudu bull. They said everything ran like bunny rabbits when he sounded the alarm.
When we got back to the homeplace, one of the bowhunters had arrowed a kudu bull that was right around 50 inches. Very nice animal.
After a lot of trash talk and some great steaks, we trotted off to bed.
Clinton has all my gemsbok pictures.
This pic is my impala.